The Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) in collaboration with the United Nations Secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) will convene an expert group meeting on "Environmental management and the mitigation of natural disasters: a gender perspective". The meeting will investigate the impact of environmental disasters, in particular natural disasters on women and gender relations. The expert group meeting is being hosted by the Government of Turkey in Ankara, and will take place from 6 to 9 November 2001.
The twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century" (Beijing+5), acknowledged an increase in casualties and damage caused by natural disasters and raised awareness of the inefficiencies and inadequacies of existing approaches and intervention methods in responding to such emergency situations from a gender perspective. It suggested that a gender perspective be incorporated into disaster prevention, mitigation and recovery strategies. Beijing+5 also recommended that governments be assisted in developing gender-sensitive strategies for the delivery of assistance and responses to humanitarian crises resulting from natural disasters.
The expert group meeting will consider the gender aspects of environmental management and the mitigation of natural disasters, in all phases of disaster emergency (before, during and in the recovery phase). It will also explore the relationship between natural disasters and sustainable development from a gender perspective. The meeting will produce gender-specific policy recommendations to address the problems associated with natural disasters and to empower women and enhance their capacity to play an active role in their communities, in policy-making and for achieving sustainable development.
The recommendations of the meeting will aim to refine and expand the agenda set in the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as the further actions identified in the outcome document adopted at Beijing+5. The findings and conclusions will be used as an input to the work for the forty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (New York, 4 to 15 March 2002), and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002).
Experts at the meeting include Sengül Akçar (Turkey); Maria Angeles Arenas Ferriz (Cuba/Spain); Mahjabeen Chowdhury (Bangladesh); Corazon Alma G. De Leon (Philippines); Maureen Helen Fordham (United Kingdom); Angus Graham (South Africa); Armine Mikayelyan (Armenia); Nora Sequeira Munoz (Costa Rica); Lynn Orstad (Canada); Samia Galal Saad (Egypt); J. Marie Yolene V. Surena (Haiti). Also participating is Feride Açar, Expert on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Elaine Enarson (USA) and Shubh K. Kumar Range (USA), who have each prepared background papers for the meeting, will also participate. In preparation for the meeting, an online discussion on "gender equality, environmental management, and natural disaster mitigation" took place from 24 September to 2 November 2001 (http://esaconf.un.org/wb/?boardid=gas1). In addition, observers from United Nations entities, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia and interested governments will attend. Observers from the UN system include ESCAP; FAO; ILO; UNDP; UNHCR; UNICEF; and WHO.